Bulbs for summer colour
Once the last daffodil has died down, don't let your bulb display stop. Dozens of bulbs flower spectacularly right through summer, keeping you in dazzling flowers until well into autumn.
Plant as you would spring bulbs, burying them to three times their depth in crumbly, moisture-retentive but free-draining soil. If yours isn't perfect, dig in organic matter first (we have well-rotted farmyard manure in our garden centre) and add a handful of slow-release fertiliser like bonemeal.
Plant our top ten summer bulbs from the range in our garden centre in Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare for a summer that's spectacular from end to end.
- Allium: ornamental onions make explosions of colour dotted through the border, with ramrod-straight spherical flowerheads.
Recommended varieties: 'Globemaster', 'Purple Sensation'
- Agapanthus: the African lily is one of the truest blues you'll find, and their huge heads are a spectacular sight.
Recommended varieties: 'Bressingham Blue', 'Back in Black'
- Dahlias: handsome plants with dozens of flower forms: whether you like spider, pompom or single-flowered, you'll find them in our garden centre. Recommended varieties: 'Bishop of Llandaff', 'David Howard'
- Lilies: heavily-scented oriental lilies have huge, heavily-perfumed blooms. Other types include hardy Asiatic lilies and pretty martagon types.
Recommended varieties: Lilium regale, Lilium martagon.
- Begonias: if it's waterfalls of flowers you want – look no further. Tuberous begonias tumble over container edges in a mass of bloom.
Recommended varieties: 'Champagne', 'Angelique'.
- Gladioli: tall and sophisticated, gladioli are in fact easy to grow, with spires of huge, intensely-coloured flowers.
Recommended varieties: 'Green Star', Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus.
- Acidanthera murielae: another showstopper in the border. Tall, scented and perfect for cutting, its graceful white flowers have purple hearts.
- Iris: bearded irises are so aristocratic they have their own language of falls, standards and beards. Don't worry: they're all sumptuous.
Recommended varieties: 'Jane Phillips', 'Superstition'.
- Cannas: hot and tropical brilliant orange, vermilion or yellow cannas have paddle-like leaves which can be as colourful as the flowers.
Recommended varieties: 'Durban', 'Wyoming'.
- Galtonia candicans: stately pure-white spires of bell-like flowers erupt gracefully in mid-summer, reaching up to 1 metre tall.
Please ask the staff in our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre for more information and advice about choosing and growing summer bulbs.